Hairy Spined Crab

A Hairy Spined Crab hiding in a Glass Sponge

Only an entire 5 days after the dive, I’ve managed to finally get these photos proccessed and uploaded!

We hopped into the Cut at Whytecliff, to enjoy a nice long dive looking at glass sponges before heading back in towards the bay, in the hopes of finding an octopus. Sadly no such luck finding an octo, but a good dive nonetheless. We made it around through to the giant underwater “ridge” in the bay towards the islet, which was a nice treat. I haven’t dove on that feature in quite a while. I had a bit of trepidation after not finding the leak that caused a fairly large flood in my drysuit last week, but I stayed dry this time. It was probably something stuck in my dump valve, which I’d flushed out with water.

Glass sponges are interesting to see, since not only are they an intricately shaped themselves, they harbour a lot of different critters, especially many, many different types of crab and shrimp. This dive did not disappoint in that respect, and we found several Hairy Spined Crabs, Squat Lobsters and Hermits hiding around the sponges. I even found a Butterfly crab, which was an nice treat although not in or near any sponges. I’ve got some interesting photos of things hiding in sponges below.

Giant Nudibranch

A Giant Nudibranch, illuminated with my canister light.

Heading back into the bay, my strobe began to act up, again. I’ve been putting off getting new batteries for far too long and finally paid for it — My strobe died, and I was greeted by many various nudibranchs, including Giant Nudibranchs, and my favourite local fish, a Grunt Sculpin posing nicely. I tried illuminating with my can light, and got some okay pictures out of it. Long story short, I bought some new batteries this week. I don’t want to get caught without a strobe on a good dive, for the nth time.

The cool thing about the Giant Nudibranchs was the variation in the colour/highlights on them. Seeing many in a small area really allowed for a nice comparison. Also spotted was what appeared to be some sort of Nudibranch egg ribbon.


Some sort of Sea Cucumber?

An interesting, unidentified, critter we found is the one on the left. The best suggestion so far is that it’s a Red Sea Cucumber, which tends to hide within crevices and feed with it’s arms/frills. The interesting thing is that Red Sea Cucumbers are typically VERY red, whereas this critter has a white body with orange “frills”. I’m not sure if there is that much colour variation within the species, or if this is a related species of cucumber. If anyone has an answer, let me know!

I think I’m getting the hang of using Darktable for photo editing, this batch turned out much nicer than the previous ones. I think I’ll have to go back and try to fix up some of the old photos as well.

More photos below:

#165, 81min, 26.1m max, 16.7m avg

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